Having a criminal record, no matter how minor, can cause problems for many years to come. Even when the charges against you were dropped or you paid your debt to society, the criminal record continues to follow you. Potential employers and landlords typically run background checks when you apply for a job or apartment.
When they see that you have a conviction on your record, they may choose not to hire or rent to you. Fortunately, you may be able to receive an expungement with the help of a criminal defense lawyer at Sicoli Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
What is an Expungement?
Expungement is the process of sealing conviction and arrest records so they are no longer a matter of public record. If you receive an expungement, you do not legally have to disclose your past arrest or conviction to anyone who might request a background check. An expungement is an opportunity for people with a minor criminal record or who are at low risk to re-offend to get a fresh start in life. Minnesota offers two types of expungements, which we will discuss below.
Statutory Authority Expungement
Changes to this type of expungement went into effect in Minnesota on January 1, 2015. The changes allow Minnesota residents to seek a statutory authority expungement if they have remained law-abiding citizens for a certain length of time. You may seek to have all records pertaining to your case, including the arrest, indictment, trial, and verdict, permanently sealed under specific circumstances. These include:
- You committed the crime as a juvenile but were tried as an adult
- You were found not guilty of the charges filed against you
- The charges against you were ultimately dismissed
- You were a minor classified as an adjudicated delinquent
- Your conviction was for a drug offense under Penal Code 152.18
- You received a stayed sentence or were convicted of a non-violent felony conviction and have not committed a new crime in at least five years since serving your probation and/or jail time
- You received a stayed sentence or were convicted of a gross misdemeanor and have not committed a new crime in at least four years since serving your probation and/or jail time
- You received a stayed sentence or were convicted of a petty misdemeanor and have not committed a new crime in at least two years since serving your probation and/or jail time.
- You completed a diversion program or a stay of adjudication and have not committed a new crime within one year of completing either program.
Inherit Authority Expungement
Under Minnesota law, anyone can seek an inherit authority expungement to seal the judicial records related to their case. Because the court seals only the judicial records if it grants your request, it is in your own best interest to seek a statutory authority expungement if you qualify for it. Some people may benefit from only an inherit authority expungement, such as a potential renter who can produce an expungement order from the convicting court showing that he or she is no longer a threat to the community.
It is important to keep in mind that a court won’t automatically grant your request for either type of expungement just because you qualify for it. Judges consider several factors, including the likelihood of you re-offending in the future. The best thing you can do is remain a law-abiding citizen and produce evidence for the judge to show that you have been rehabilitated.
Work with an Experienced Expungement Lawyer in Minneapolis
Applying for an expungement can be a lengthy and complicated process. If you’re ready to move on with your life but your past is holding you back, we encourage you to contact us for a case review. We will let you know if you qualify and work with you to get the process started immediately if you do.